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CWU activist suspended at Pell and Pales April 20, 2010

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EMERGENCY MEETING; Wednesday 21st April; From 9.15pm; At the Royal Star, 220 City Road (past Moorfields Eye Hospital)

This afternoon (April 19th) CWU activist and Staff Representative, Sam Deane was suspended pending an investigation.
There was another staff rep present whilst Sam was informed by the HR Director, alongside the Campaign Centres Director (CCD) and the OS2 Campaign Centre Manager (CCM), the reason that the disciplinary procedure was being invoked against him.

This follows four previous high-profile sackings of union activists at Pell and Bales, each one of them re-instated following a campaign. (more…)


CWU @ Pell and Bales newsletter April 2010 April 12, 2010

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The latest issue of the bulletin for workers at Pell and Bales charity call centres is now available. It is produced by CWU members. Click below for the PDF

Email londoncallcentres@gmail.com if you would like to contribute an (anonymous) article about working at P&B or any other call centre. Also get in touch if you would like to be posted printed copies.

Working with NL recruitment March 22, 2010

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NL Recruitment is an agency that specialises in recruiting staff for many employers in the Call-Centre industry such as Sky and Morgan Stanley. NL advertises positions for workers in Customer Services, Fundraising, Tele-Marketing in London, Surrey and the North East.

Pell and Bales is one of NL Recruitment’s major clients in London.

Feedback from callers with NL is mixed.

One new caller said of NL that “they are very friendly and always happy to help with any problem you may have”.

Another caller was unable to attend the final training and NL was able to reschedule this with P&B.

However, there have been some problems with NL.

  • NL gave some new callers the impression that they had got a job with Pell and Bales when they were confirmed for training. It was only when arriving at Pell and Bales that they discovered that they would have to pass training.
  • Many callers are confused by the pay and holiday structure and would like a document that explained this in more detail
  • A separate company ISS provides the payroll service for NL. They are based in Guernsey and therefore have no UK tax liabilities. ISS does however tax callers employed by NL. NL callers, not NL, have 4% of their wages (the lowest in Pell and Bales) deducted for this “service”. That is why it is important that NL callers ensure that they claim their holiday entitlement and retain train and bus tickets, as travel costs can be claimed back. It is possible to claw back more than the 4% lost this way.

The issue of Pell and Bales using an agency who in turn uses an offshore payroll company that charges low-paid callers was raised by the CWU at a Staff Reps meeting a few years ago. Initially management told us that if they established that an agency they used charged callers for the payroll service they would end the contract with that agency. Once they had spoken to NL, at the following Staff Reps meeting they said that NL callers could be potentially better off. NL Recruitment became the sole agency for recruiting callers when Pell and Bales in-house recruitment team was disbanded in April 2009.

Our position is that if ISS are not paying UK tax, they can afford to waive the fee charged to NL callers and pay the lowest-paid callers a decent rate, decent holiday entitlement and re-imburse travel costs.

The CWU continues to campaign for all agency callers to be paid at least the London Living Wage, as recommended by the Mayor of London’s office of £7.60 per hour

If you are an agency worker at Pell and Bales and need some advice– let us know.

Another exclusive from the News of The Screws: charities in fundraising shock March 10, 2010

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From a CWU member at Pell and Bales

A sordid, evil underground group named “The Callers” are asking people to help people that might be worse off than them – our intrepid reporter Lunchtime O’Loan exposes these filthy communists with their ideals of helping others

There is an enemy within our midsts. The phone rings. It could be a relative with some important news , or even more innocently it might be a friendly chap from a reputable satellite TV company wishing to inform you of a fantastic introductory offer on all the sports and movie channels, a HD box and a Marks and Sparks voucher.

Instead it’s a thief trying to get you to part with your money with no benefit to yourself. (more…)

report of London call centre workers’ meeting June 16, 2009

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by Jack Staunton

On Saturday evening two dozen call centre workers from around London attended a meeting to discuss how we can best organise together. Although in the UK there are now some 750,000 people working in various types of call centre (such as sales, service calls and market research), very few are unionised. Employment is often very precarious, and the high turnover of staff in many workplaces means it can be difficult to organise, even though semi-casual work on low pay, along with management behaviour and petty rules, give plenty of reasons for us to do so.

The meeting took place as an extension of the AGM of the CWU branch at the Pell and Bales charity call centre in Old Street. Workers from another Pell and Bales site, as well as CCA International (sales), IFF (market research) and Listen (charity fundraising) attended to share experiences of standing up to zealous managers and recruiting people to the union, as well as to plan ahead to co-ordinate our organising initiatives. (more…)

What’s it like at Pell and Bales? April 15, 2009

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– What work is done at P+B?

Pell and Bales run a call centre that mainly, although not exclusively, makes calls on behalf of Not-For-Profit organisations. In the main, we raise funds on the telephone for charities, although P&B have been known to have contracts with commercial clients. Although P&B have a number of competitors, if you have been called by a charity, it is most likely that the call came from a Pell and Bales employee. (more…)